This album title is so fitting, isn’t it? Because I’ll be honest with you, up until this year, for the most part of it, the only time I ever listened to Ty Dolla $ign was when he was a featured artist on another musician’s song. The first time I really stopped and listened to the man’s voice was when he featured on Jacob Collier’s track All I Need, alongside out girl Mahalia. The man can sing.
I mean if you scroll all the way to the bottom of his Spotify profile, you get one of the longest ‘Appears On’ list I have ever seen. He’s appeared on some of my favourite releases in the last few years and so many more. Post Malone, Ariana, Roddy Rich, Drake, Migos, Jhene, Dreamville, Chance The Rapper, Mac Miller, Sza, Thundercat, Kehlani, Kanye, Jacob Collier, Amine, Ella Mai, KAYTRANADA, Chris Brown, Christina Aguilera – they’ve all got Ty on their tracks and that’s not even half of it.
He’s literally everywhere and he has been for years, and so for his third studio album to be called, Featuring Ty Dolla $ign? Love it. I’m so about it.
I mean, even the first track, Intro, touches on the fact that he’s been working so much with other artists, yet he’s so talented as a solo act. He covers genuinely all aspects of music creation from writing the music, doing some of the instrumentation and even mixing and mastering. His track LA features on the Netflix series Song Exploder which delves into the entire creative process behind individual tracks, and it’s one of my favourite episodes that really showcases how talented he is.
That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of features on this record; the switch being they’re featuring on Ty Dolla $ign’s album and not the other way around. You’ve got Kehlani, Nicki Minaj, Anderson .Paak, Mustard, Roddy Rich, Jhene Aiko, Gunna, Musiq Soulchild, Kanye, FKA Twigs, Skrillex and plenty more – it’s a golden standard feature list for a hip hop/RnB album, if you ask me.
One of my favourite things is how seamlessly a lot of the songs blend into each other. I didn’t realise my favourite song when I first listened to it, was actually two seperate songs, Status and Temptations, because of how smoothly they blend into each other. Something I love about all of Ty’s songs are how melodic they are, whether it’s the music or his rapping and singing, there’s so much musicality and so many little pockets in his songs.
I really enjoy the little interludes sprinkled throughout the album too, specifically the Burna Boy Interlude, which is super calming and relaxed. It’s another example of beautifully constructed and arranged music that just bleeds from one track to another.
It wouldn’t be a blog post of mine if I didn’t highlight Kehlani’s feature track, Universe. That said, it’s also just generally one of my favourite songs on the album. It’s got this super smooth guitar riff throughout the whole thing, and I’ve come to really love how well Ty layers and stacks harmonies and vocals, which he does really tastefully on this song. Between him and Kehlani, they both have a amazing raspy tones and it just matches so perfectly, especially in contrast to that guitar.
Your Turn features 6LACK, Musiq Soulchild and Tish Hyman, and it’s just so smooth. It’s the epitome of smooth and sits perfectly as a little taste of some old school RnB. It’s straight out of the late 90’s/early 2000’s and it builds and grows beautifully over the track. It’s super lazy and laidback in the best possible way.
I have to mention Ego Death featuring Kanye, FKA Twigs and Skrillex. Such a strong beat, very unexpected, but very much appreciated.
I couldn’t have predicted that in 2020 Ty Dolla $ign would be one of my most listened to artists or that I would be rinsing his album as much as I am, but here we are. Let me know if you’ve listened to it already or if you want to give it a listen in the future.